Postcard from the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Now in its nineteenth year, and with more than 180,000 visitors over the four days, the Goodwood Festival of Speed remains an unequalled celebration of human endeavour, on two, four and more wheels. With multiple exhibits from global motor manufacturers, “factory” museums and renowned, private collections, combined with stars who have influenced our sport …the event remains unmissable, whatever your preferred discipline!!
Celebrating its Diamond Jubilee, the Lotus marque was the focus of Gerry Judah’s sculpture outside Goodwood House, with six Formula 1 cars secured atop a sixty tonne superstructure…. acknowledging Colin Chapman’s innovation in monocoque chassis design, it was constructed from self-supporting sheet steel, secured in a hollow, triangular pattern . Additional celebrations included:

  • 90 years of Pikes Peak, “The race to the Clouds”;
  • a tribute to “Mr Karting”, the late Martin Hines.

On the “hill”, the Ferrari enthusiast saw rapid demonstrations from the F1 Scuderia’s test driver, Marc Gene in the 2009 F60 , historic racer Paul Knapfield, was quick in his unique 712 Can-Am racer and 312PB, Marino Franchitti and Annette Mason piloted their family 250 GTO and MM respectively , Swiss collectors car dealer Lukas Huni was sublime  in his ex-Rodriguez brothers 250SWB, whilst 1979 F1 World Champion Jody Scheckter provided his title winning T4 for static display, Marc Muzzo celebrated the achievements of Gilles Villeneuve in his T3, Jean Francois Decaux looked controlled in his 312/68 and previous FOS winner, Ernst Schuster’s  312 B3, was raced in period by both Lauda and Regazzoni.

  • the Diamond Jubilee of Lotus was this year’s key celebration, and Lord March had assembled a fantastic entry of forty+ cars, charting the marques history from the Type 1 to the current Grand Prix car (demonstrated by test driver Nicolas Prost) and key members of the manufacturers  history,  Hazel  and Clive Chapman, Emerson Fittipaldi and Bob Dance, amongst many others.
  • Celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of the Colorado USA, Pikes Peak, “race to the clouds”, Californian collectors car dealer, Bruce Canepa, brought his 1,375bhp Caterpillar C16 engined Kenworth  T2000 truck to the Sussex coast, marking his three wins in the annual events, tandem axle truck class.

The three established paddocks, located either side of the House, were split by entrants of the Cartier Style et Luxe  Concours (exclusively celebrating Queen Elizabeth II nd’s Diamond Jubilee) …. and with an eclectic entry of vehicles, ranging from a carriage from the Royal train, via the unique Lincoln Cosmopolitan Limousine “bubbletop”, to a very rare Ford V8 Pilot “shooting brake” – there was a car to suit every taste! Catching my eye, was a 1961 Alvis TD21, owned from new by the Duke of Edinburgh, the French President’s Citroen SM Cabriolet, and the overall winner – Prince Charles’s bio-fuel powered Aston Martin DB6 MkII Volante; whilst sharing the “stables” lawn, were seven of BBC Radio2 DJ, and FOC member, Chris Evans’ Ferrari collection (see below), helping to raise more than £1million for UK charity, Children in Need.

The adjacent supercar paddock, featured products from thirty manufacturers, displaying either production models, prototypes or design concepts – Ferrari Northern Europe presented a Ferrari458 Italia Spider (see below), a California and FF, whilst  very popular with visitors, were the  retro-styled Alfa Romeo TZ3 Zagato and my favourite, the Renault Alpine A110-50 concept car. Personal award for most ungainly car on display, must go to the Gumpert Apollo,  and I never even mentioned the gawdy Bentley Continental Supersports Ice!

The very well attended Bonhams Auction had something for every budget  (all figures include buyer’s premium) –  the ex-Sir Tim Birkin, 1929 Bentley 4.5 litre “Brooklands outer circuit record holder”, became the most expensive British car ever sold at auction (£5,041,500), whilst securing the iconic 1912 Rolls Royce ”Corgi” Double Pullman was almost as costly (£4,705,500), and two other prominent cars from the estate of Master Horologist, Dr George Daniels, the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300 and 1908 Grand Prix Itala, realised £2,689,500 and £1,737,500 respectively. Of the four Ferrari’s offered,  only the Dino GTS Spyder  failed to sell – with a superb RHD (one of only nineteen) Classiche certificated 275GTS, achieving a record breaking  £561,500, a one owner for thirty eight years, 250 GTE, selling at a market correct £79,900 and a needy, RHD Daytona Spyder  Autokraft conversion, £225,500 ….. “my” car of the sale was the immaculate,  rare in RHD, 1963 Maserati Sebring,  looking very good value at £77,600. All credit should go to Bonhams for a multiple record breaking sale, not least their internal record for a single, UK sale total.

With the F1 season all but at halfway point, seven teams stopped off en route to Silverstone, to entertain, in the sunshine of the Sussex countryside – Lotus, Williams, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Caterham shared the limelight, with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton sharing the 2011 McLaren MP4-26. Elsewhere, “Flying Finns” Rauno Aaltonen , Bjorn Waldegard and Hannu Mikkola were amongst the many famous names who took part on the rally stage, designed by the latter.

The popularity of the Festival of Speed, can be seen from the number of famous drivers and riders, past and present, who relish the opportunity to be reunited with their original charges – this year, the Black Rock Drivers Club welcomed amongst others Alain Prost,  Sir Stirling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi, John Surtees, Sebastian Vettel,  Damon Hill, Rene Arnoux,  Sir Jackie Stewart, Jochen Mass, Bernd Schneider, Klaus Ludwig, Steve Soper, John Cleland, Kenny Roberts, Wayne Gardner, James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow.

My highlights – there were many:

With Jesse James and Terry Grant amongst many others, entertaining the crowd, the Festival of Speed has become a unique celebration of “car and bike culture” and innovation.

With my season now in “overdrive”, I’m next at the Silverstone Classic,  where stars include F1 and Indycar champion Nigel Mansell and multiple Le Mans winner Derek Bell …..not forgetting the twenty  fiftieth anniversary celebrations for one of my favourites ..the Ferrari F40….see you there!!

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